It was the typical hot southern summer, my buddies and I had just rode our bicycles to an old school house that served as our adolescent club headquarters, as we were racing our matchbox cars on the roots of a sycamore tree that ran along the ground like a natural interstate highway we saw Eddie heading our way wearing his uniquely perpetual grin. He exclaimed that he had something he was wanting to show us. Eddie was a decade older than we were and due to severe epilepsy lived with his mother and father (Gertrude and Papa). Having few expenses, unable to drive, and a natural ability to earn money he had bought the first satellite TV system within a 10 mile radius. Unlike today’s satellite dishes which can come in the mail, those structures of the early 80’s required the use of a crane and 3-man assembly team so everyone in the county was privy to his idiot box success. Eddie had been playing around with his new toy for a few weeks and discovered a secret that he wanted to show off to us young kids.
He found out that with a cloudless sky and the dish moved ever so slightly into one particular direction he could pick up a television station that otherwise wasn’t part of the programing package. As we sat in his small living room, with linoleum floors and decade old furniture Eddie gave us a personal demonstration of his technological prowess by supplying us our first hit of pornography. In between the static we were able to make out moans, groans, and the necessary bodily appendages being utilized in such a way as to leave us mesmerized. For about 10 minutes, but seeming like an hour for fear of getting busted, we received an impromptu sex education lesson. Eventually our lookout spotted Papa heading back to the house so we immediately resumed more appropriate television watching activities. The rest of the afternoon consisted of ramp jumping, playing ninja in the woods, and attempting to disguise the lump that appeared in the crotch our jeans when we occasionally reminisced on our earlier entertainment.
Recalling that day so vividly 27 years later speaks to the effect it had on my life, it’s one of those moments that I’ll never forget. Fortunately the biggest problem about pornography back then was actually getting access to it. Aside from the occasional Playboy Magazine that may cross our path, seeing it for real was a rarity. But the prevalence of cable, satellite, and VCR’s brought porn out from the underground and into our bedrooms. Yet its growth remained in check primarily because the person had to either subscribe to a channel and run the risk of somebody else stumbling on it looking for MTV or show their face in an adult video store. But as with everything else it’s touched, the internet changed all of that. Now an individual has to do nothing more than fire up their laptop, google ‘porn’, and surf over 270 million possibilities to find something that will fire their engine. Technology has given everyone the ability to consume as much pornography, of every conceivable shape and kind, for as long as they want with no one ever knowing. Unfortunately, it’s this same advancement that has helped to create a sexual culture that harbors a dark secret :*
- Every second – $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography.
- Every second – 28,258 internet users are viewing pornography.
- Every second – 372 internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines.
- Every 39 minutes: a new pornographic video is being created in the United States.
- ‘Porn’ – the 4th ranked search term for kids under seven.
- 11 – is the average age kids view porn for the first time.
It’s estimated that 40 million* people in the U.S. look at pornography daily. And it isn’t just single people, it’s an epidemic that has impacted the very center of the family unit with roughly 50%* of all divorces in America referencing pornography as a contributing factor.
It starts innocently enough, after being together for a while couples may feel that their sex life needs to be spiced up a bit. So what better way than to watch somebody else doing it?!? And they can get their hands on it without fear of bumping into a friend from the gym. But they soon find that what was supposed to be every ‘once and a while’ starts becoming somewhat of a necessity. He now needs it to ‘get in the mood’ or ‘to get off’. Then, for numerous reasons, he begins looking when no one is around and the images fill his head constantly. He takes every chance he can, even at work, to feed the habit and now pours his passions and desires into pixels instead of a real person. And all the while he fails to realize that this road he is on is going to take him to dark places that at one time would have repulsed him. Pornography is as addictive as drugs or alcohol, and like any addict he will find he needs harder stuff to get that rush because the ordinary now just doesn’t cut it. Eventually his fantasies seep into his reality and the woman, who once fulfilled his desires, now finds herself competing for his affections with a stranger on a computer monitor or he pulls away from potential relationships because of his guilt, shame, and the fear of how she might respond if she knew the truth.
How am I such the expert? Because there was a season in my life where I struggled with it. I completely understand the pull that pornography can have on someone and while doing my very best to break the hold I found myself going back again and again. The worst part was I hated myself for it, which seems to be a common theme with addictions. It was only by sharing my secret with a trusted friend and ultimate accountability partner that I was able to permanently move beyond pornography’s hold. And I finally realized that only by sharing dependencies with others and bringing it into the light can change happen.
With some estimates that 50% of all men and 20% of all women being addicted to pornography, this weekend’s Superbowl sets the stage to open a dialogue between a large number of people. The day of the big game http://xxxchurch.com (that isn’t a typo) will be having its own festivities called PornSunday. They will be airing interviews and discussions throughout the day and have partnered with several NFL players, past and present, who talk about their own struggles with pornography and in the process hopefully get people out from behind the computer screen and talking.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a pornography addiciton this might be a great way to open up that conversation. Please, don’t stay in the dark any longer.
*Family Safe Media, XXX Church